Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Drug Dilemma

Here's the background: I was on a medication earlier this year for insomnia and anxiety and I hated it.  I will be the first to admit that I'm not sure how much was the drug and how much was just general refeeding misery, but I felt sluggish and sleepy and awful the whole time I was taking it.  I came off of it sometime in February, and I haven't taken anything else since.

Starting around that same time, my therapist and ED doctor have both brought up the possibility of trying Prozac or something similar for depression a couple of times.  I was pretty opposed from the beginning, since I felt like any depression I had was a result of the fact that my life was pretty depressing.  Being home alone eight hours a day with nothing - no class, no job, no friends - in the dead of winter is depressing for anyone, I'm pretty sure.  Combine that with serious body image issues, huge anxieties over food six times a day, and the most snowfall recorded in a decade, and you don't exactly have a recipe for bliss.

I have tried outlining a semi-logical argument for my therapist explaining why I am so resistant to taking anti-depressants, but it usually just boils down to: "Because I don't want to."  I don't know if that's a good enough reason, but so far W has been accepting it.

There are a few reasons I'm not huge on the medication idea.  First of all...okay duh, weight gain.  I don't know anything about this other than it seems to be a stereotype about anti-depressants, which is enough to scare me away.

Second, I hate the idea of being tethered to a pill.  At school, my schedule is hugely variable from day-to-day.  Is it a big deal if I miss a dose? Or accidentally double up?  What about alcohol?  I'm sure tons of college kids are on all kinds of medications with no problems, but the idea of living on my own far from my family and my doctor while taking serious medication makes me hugely nervous.  What if I have a bad reaction?  What if my weight suddenly balloons out of control? (Okay, that was a reiteration of reason #1.)  What if the drug stops working and I end up even worse than I was before?  Then what?

I don't want to rely on a pill to be able to function.  (This is NOT  criticism of people who DO need medication to function. I am not anti-drugs; I am 100% pro-drugs for those who need them.  I have a family member with schizophrenia who is completely and utterly unable to lead any semblance of a normal life without a heavy regimen of medication, and I totally respect him for recognizing and honoring that. Same with a friend who has severe anxiety.)  So maybe this is me just being stubborn and refusing to concede that I, too, may actually NEED medication to function, but I also feel like I haven't given myself a chance to learn how to just cope.  At the moment, my (healthy) coping skills are nonexistent.  Feeling fat?  Cut lunch in half.  Nervous about the weekend?  Run an extra X miles.  I have no fucking clue how to feel uncomfortable or anxious or guilty and just weather the storm without self-destructing.

Right now, the ED is my anti-depressant.  So how will I know if I really need drugs unless I can give up the ED long enough to find out?

So, that's the Medication Issue in a nutshell.  Since my weight is down, my therapist has been pushing it a little harder lately, but I'm 90% positive that I'll be sticking to my guns on this one, at least for now.  Mostly, I just have a general aversion to any drugs at all - at least for myself.  I never take anything stronger than Advil, and the thought of having something so powerful in my body all the time just plain freaks me out.  It's not as if I can't get out of bed in the morning, so at this point taking medication is entirely up to me.  And I Just Don't Want To.

1 comment:

  1. I've always had a hard time with meds, even simple ones like antibiotics! I've gotten better as I have aged but still meds are always the last route for me, especially for mental issues.

    I think I've always felt I had to tough it out-that I could be do this. And sometimes I was right, other times, I was not.

    I think the things with meds just like anything else is that they are there to help you. It doesn't mean you are flawed but just that you need an extra chemical to help balance the rest of the chemicals in your body. Maybe looking at it that way can be helpful.